Russia France Azerbaijan React to Developments in Armenia

MOSCOW (Reuters)–Russian President Boris Yeltsin said Wednesday–"Armenia is part of Russia’s field of strategic interests," in response to the changes in leadership in Armenia. "It is an Orthodox country. We must not lose Armenia and we shall not lose her," he added.

Yeltsin expressed regret over the resignation of Levon Ter-Petrosyan and said the tiny former Soviet republic was an important ally for Moscow.

"I liked working with Ter-Petrosyan–who acted calmly and cooperated well in helping to resolve problems of the Commonwealth of Independent States," Interfax quoted Yeltsin as saying.

Yeltsin said he was following events in Armenia very closely and had spoken by telephone with Ter-Petrosyan.

"I wanted to help him because he formed a circle of people around him who rose up against him," Interfax quoted Yeltsin as saying.

On Wednesday Interfax quoted Yeltsin’s spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky as urging the new Armenian leadership to continue to seek a resolution of the Karabakh issue through peaceful dialogue and respect for the views of both sides.

Azeri leader Gaidar Aliyev called an emergency session of his country’s Security Council Wednesday after the Ter-Petrosyan resignation.

Sources in the Azeri Defense Ministry said the council would discuss political developmen’s in Armenia and "their effect on the political-military situation."

Defense Ministry officials said the situation along the front lines between Azeri and Armenian forces was calm and unchanged on Wednesday.

France said Wednesday that it is concerned about the situation in Armenia after Levon Ter-Petrosyan announced his resignation Tuesday.

"We are following with great attention the situation in Armenia–a country with which we have privileged relations," said French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne Gazeau-Secret.

Petrosyan had accepted a peace plan devised by France–Russia and the United States for re-establishing confidence among the conflicting sides of Nagorno-Karabakh before deciding the final status of the area.

"It is important for us that the peace aimed at finding a definitive and just solution to Nagorno-Karabakh should not be interrupted," said Gazeau-Secret.

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